April 22, 2022

Reflection / John Shaughnessy

A question about marriage, and the perfect answer

John ShaughnessyBeing a male, I have long held the belief that a guy should run away as quickly as possible when his wife is reading “a quiz for married couples” and she says, “We should take this together. It will be fun.”

So it may seem completely out of character for me to ask anyone who is married or planning to get married to consider the following one-question quiz about marriage:

Which of these quotes about marriage connects best with you?

  1. “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”—Mignon McLaughlin
  2. “I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”—Rita Rudner
  3. “True love stands by each other’s side on the good days and stands closer on bad days.”—Unknown
  4. “A good marriage is a contest of generosity.”—Diane Sawyer
  5. “A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.”—Unknown

After thinking about those quotes, consider one more thought on marriage—a belief that has been embraced by countless people, including a young couple named Seth and Chelsea Monholand and an older couple named Jim and Jeanne Huser.

Both couples, who live in the archdiocese, believe that God should be at the center of their individual lives, and he should also be at the center of their marriage.

Seth and Chelsea, who have been married nearly nine years and have two children, are featured in a front-page story of this issue of The Criterion.

Then there’s the story of the Husers, who will celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary on April 30. The heart of their love story is shared by Marilyn Haywood, the ninth of their 10 children.

“My parents never want to be the center of attention, and they give credit for everything they are, and have accomplished, to God,” Haywood notes. “God has always been the third person in my parents’ marriage, and they have made that abundantly clear to everyone—God first, spouse second, children third.”

That approach and their Catholic faith have guided the Husers ever since they vowed to dedicate their lives and their marriage to God on their wedding day in 1949.

“My parents have lived on the south side of Indianapolis most of their married life and have been parishioners of Holy Name of Jesus Parish since sometime in the late 1950s,” Haywood says. “My father owned his own business while my mother ran the home. They sacrificed to send all 10 of us to Catholic schools, both elementary and high school.

“God has blessed them abundantly with 10 children, 41 grandchildren, nearly 100 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.”

Neither of them could have imagined all of this when the then-19-year-olds looked into each other’s eyes on a day in April and made the innocent promise to love each other through everything.

Yet, on their wedding day, they also made the faith-filled promise to invite and include God in their marriage. And the combination of these two fulfilled promises has made all the difference for them as they celebrate 73 years of marriage.

Regarding such celebrations—and even in the struggles and challenges of marriage—it seems fitting that Jesus performed his first public miracle at a wedding feast.

He did more than turn water into wine that day. He accepted their invitation to be with them as they started their shared life together. He showed them he would be there for them at the point of possible shame. And the love he poured out in that miracle is a gift he offers all of us, too.

There’s truth in the quote, “True love stands by each other’s side on the good days and stands closer on bad days.”

So does God’s love.

(John Shaughnessy is the assistant editor of The Criterion.)

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